Indicator Specification

Normalised losses from river flood disasters

Indicator Specification
  Indicator codes: CLIM 040
Published 08 Sep 2008 Last modified 09 Feb 2021
5 min read
This page was archived on 08 May 2015 with reason: No more updates will be done
Flood losses per thousand of GDP in the EU 1970-2005 Number of casualties caused by flood disasters in the EU 1970-2005 Projected change in damage of river floods with a 100-year return period between 2071-2100 and 1961-1990

This indicator is discontinued.

Updated information on this topic is available with the indicator "Damages from weather and climate-related events" (

Required information is not filled in: Information about the starting date of the publishing schedule is missing.

Assessment versions

Published (reviewed and quality assured)
  • No published assessments


Justification for indicator selection

There is good reason to be concerned about the growth of flood losses in Europe even without taking climate change into account. Economic losses from flood disasters in Europe increased from the 1970s to the 2000s (Barredo, 2007). In addition to the rising trend in flood damage, the effects of unusually severe floods during the 1990s and 2000s increased awareness of the economic consequences of flooding. The 1997 floods in Poland and Czech Republic were responsible for losses of about EUR 5.2 billion. In 2000, Italy, France and Switzerland experienced losses of EUR 9.2 billion. In 2002 the material flood damage of EUR 17.4 billion recorded in Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria was higher than in any single previous year (Kundzewicz et al., 2005). And the cost of floods in the United Kingdom in summer 2007 has been estimated at around EUR 4.3 billion.
There is no clear evidence of a climate-related trend for floods during recent decades in Europe (Mudelsee et al., 2003; Kundzewicz, 2005). Even if there is scientific evidence of a continuing intensification of the global water cycle (Huntington, 2006) there is no homogeneous trend in extreme river flows on the European or regional scale. Analyses of long-term records of flood losses indicate that societal and economic factors have played an important role in the observed upward trends (Pielke Jr and Downton, 2000; Mills, 2005; Barredo, 2007).

Scientific references

  • No rationale references available

Indicator definition

  • Flood losses per thousand of GDP in the EU 1970-2005
  • Number of casualties caused by flood disasters in the EU 1970-2005
  • Projected change in damage of river floods with a 100-year return period between 2071-2100 and 1961-1990



Policy context and targets

Context description

In April 2009 the European Commission presented a White Paper on the framework for adaptation policies and measures to reduce the European Union's vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. The aim is to increase the resilience to climate change of health, property and the productive functions of land, inter alia by improving the management of water resources and ecosystems. More knowledge is needed on climate impact and vulnerability but a considerable amount of information and research already exists which can be shared better through a proposed Clearing House Mechanism. The White Paper stresses the need to mainstream adaptation into existing and new EU policies. A number of Member States have already taken action and several have prepared national adaptation plans. The EU is also developing actions to enhance and finance adaptation in developing countries as part of a new post-2012 global climate agreement expected in Copenhagen (Dec. 2009). For more information see:


No targets have been specified

Related policy documents

No related policy documents have been specified



Methodology for indicator calculation

Methodology for gap filling

Methodology references

No methodology references available.


Data specifications

EEA data references

  • No datasets have been specified here.

External data references

Data sources in latest figures



Methodology uncertainty

Data sets uncertainty

Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Further work

Short term work

Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.

Long term work

Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.

General metadata

Responsibility and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Hans-Martin Füssel


European Environment Agency (EEA)


Indicator code
CLIM 040
Version id: 1


DPSIR: Impact
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)


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